HR future leader of the month: Rachel Kent

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HR magazine speaks to the future leaders of the function about what they think will shape it

What are your main concerns in HR today?

The way the industry is trying to change attitudes towards ‘presenteeism’. In today’s Millennial job market, prospective employees don’t want to be working the long hours associated with many professions.

People have different ways of attracting talent and every business will have a certain approach.

One thing that links all organisations is the need to offer working practices that are aligned with the expectations of the Millennial workforce.

What will become more important for HR over the next five years?

Gender inequality in the workplace is only going to come further under the spotlight over the coming years. Pay gap reporting legislation has already been introduced and soon all businesses will be required to publish the salary differences between their female and male employees.

Succession planning must be on the mind of every business and preparing for the future is highly important. Identifying gaps before they become a problem is crucial, along with providing suitable training programmes and support for future talent as they progress through the organisation.

What subjects will HR still be tackling when you retire?

Attracting and retaining the best talent will continue to be a subject tackled by the HR industry and organisations must realise that adapting and reacting to the changing employment landscape is the only way forward.

Attracting and retaining talent successfully comes down to knowing what makes people have a good day at work. Often this boils down to putting skills to good use, working as a team towards a common goal, and feeling successful.

What do you plan to do to change HR for the better?

We are currently working on a project to embed health and wellbeing into our culture. We recognise that promoting a healthier lifestyle brings myriad benefits, including a happier workforce, increased productivity and profitability. Being known as a firm that cares about its employees is extremely important.

We have introduced a firm-wide health and wellbeing challenge called ‘Walk to the Gold Coast’ and are working on a number of other initiatives to further embed this into the firm’s culture. We are keen to keep engagement high so we run firm-wide roadshows throughout the year.

We are also looking at what support we can provide to line managers to equip them with the skills to perform at their best within their roles, embodying the core values of the firm and permeating these throughout the business.

Rachel Kent is senior HR adviser at Shakespeare Martineau

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